Managing Fatigue in Lupus

This site is intended for healthcare professionals as a useful source of information on the diagnosis, treatment and support of patients with lupus and related connective tissue diseases.
Fatigue can be described as a feeling of weariness that is more extreme than simple tiredness. It often includes a lack of both physical and mental (or emotional) energy and motivation. The fatigue that many patients experience in lupus is different from the everyday tiredness that anyone can experience, caused by the activities of daily life. When it is severe, it is a tiredness that is rarely improved with rest, and can last for some considerable time. It could be triggered by certain activities or stress, and can lead to frustration and then sometimes to periods of depression, especially when the fatigue of lupus is significantly interfering with life plans.

It is at these times when it is most difficult to manage and the following ideas may help patients to feel more in control:-
Pacing and planning

Setting realistic achievable goals

Increasing exercise levels


Sleep well

Reduce stressors where possible
Control levels of activity to meet individual physical capacity. Enables the patient to consider adequate time to plan things in advance.

Puts the patient in better position of control. Improves feelings of satisfaction with achievements, however small.

Exercise makes us feel good, reduces our stress levels and improves our overall health.

Yoga, Pilates and T’ai chi are excellent in helping strengthen muscles and learning how to relax. it will improve symptoms the more experience is gained.

Sleep is uplifting and soothing. Sleep allows the ability to function on a daily basis. Fatigue is worse when sleep patterns are not stable.

Stress causes us to feel upset and can lead to an increase in symptoms. Reducing stress levels is recommended for all aspects of good health.
After a flare patients often become physically deconditioned. When all of the suggested methods have been maximised and patients are still struggling, they are likely to need the help of a physiotherapist to plan a programme of increasing physical activity to get back to their usual activities.